ANTWERP: At a time when many restaurants are struggling with the after effects of COVID-19, a new restaurant will open in Antwerp called Maven.
The restaurant will open in Liegestraat on the bustling South side of the city. It is a concept that brings together the expertise of renowned butcher Luc De Laet, the passion of catering entrepreneur Win Van der Borght and the talent of Jules Koninckx.
Starting a meat restaurant at a time when eating meat is under pressure may be considered politically incorrect but the three are just ‘daredevils’. “There is nothing wrong with eating meat,” says butcher De Laet. We eat too much meat. So we have to eat less but above all better meat.”
The name Maven has been chosen because in Hebrew it refers to ‘the girl who knows everything’ while in old English it means ‘one who understands’. Maven therefore stands for knowledge and skills, someone who knows how to work. That is what De laet, Van der Borght and Konickx are promising.
“Creativity, innovation and sustainability go hand in hand. From the passion for the craft and the meat, from how we handle the meat and how we prepare it. This is what Maven will be,” said De Laet.
Maven will be mainly working with European farms that are relatively close by. The cattle graze in the wild and are raised eating the right food. The restaurant promises to hardly use animals from outside of Europe. An exception will be made for very specific and high-quality meets such as Japanese Wagyu and Kobe or quality labels such as Danish Sashi, because these flavours are unique and inimitable in quality.
The kitchen team will emphasize the wide range of dry aged meat, meat that is first hung and dried in cold stores for a certain period of time and then placed on racks. But also artisanal products will be used, along with fresh vegetables and salads from the garden.
The building at 4 Liège Street in Antwerp South, where the restaurant is located has been vacant for a long time, but has since been acquired by the Shrimp Tempura group of Wim Van der Borght. Designer Joran Dhaen came up with a unique restaurant concept, which was further refined by architect Eric Verbeeck and is now completely redesigned. The interior was stripped to create the space of a warehouse but with the modern facilities for a catering business. The Umami restaurant, also part of the Shrimp Tempura group, is right next door.
“We want to create unique hospitality concepts within Shrimp Tempura. And by going against the current with this meat proposition we are doing this,” said Van der Borght.
“We are being slightly controversial particularly given the hype for vegan cuisine. But we will do this professionally and in great respect for nature,” he said,.
Up to 148 people (adjusted capacity of 85 place settings as long as the corona measures are in place) can dine at the same time, but due to the unique ‘arena’ structure, you will not notice anything. A private dining space is provided behind the immense refrigerated display cases for an exclusive culinary experience. And there is also a special “group” zone for 30 people. In short, the Liège building has been revised to its former glory.
“With the best products, in a unique setting, I can prepare the most beautiful preparations and portions for customers who love a good cut of meat,” says Jules Koninckx. “For me it is a dream come true.
Address: Luikstraat 4, Antwerp. Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: noon – 2 PM and 6 PM – 11 PM; Saturday: 6 pm – 11 pm; Sunday: 11.30 am until 10 pm